That One Kid - Summary and Key Ideas

That One Kid by Brian Mendler offers practical strategies for educators to effectively handle difficult, disruptive, and unmotivated students. Through real-life anecdotes and actionable advice, Mendler aims to empower teachers to foster positive relationships with their most challenging students.

This book is targeted towards K-12 educators, school administrators, and anyone involved in the educational system looking for effective methods to manage and engage challenging students.

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That One Kid

Key ideas


Discomfort sparks growth; self-reflection and understanding core needs solve problems.


Address underlying issues and teach social-emotional skills for effective classroom management.

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Build relationships with students; integrate interests and praise positive behaviors.

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Teachers need to build relationships with disruptive students to change behavior.

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Channeling needs positively, avoiding stress, and scaffolding success fosters student growth.

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Focus on one goal at a time to help Michael improve.

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Prioritize student relationships and adapting teaching methods to individual needs.

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Understanding and empathy, not punishment, foster lasting behavioral change in students.

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Teachers should understand students' needs and motivations to effectively foster learning.

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The chapter emphasizes collaborative rewards, accepting late work, roleplaying, and positivity.

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The welcoming classroom environment effectively supports student learning and engagement.

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Supportive teachers empower students to overcome adversity and realize potential.

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Summary & Review

Final Summary: "That One Kid" by Brian Mendler is a comprehensive guide for educators focused on changing behaviors, building connections, and creating lasting impacts on challenging students. The book underscores the importance of altering adult behaviors first to influence student actions and emphasizes understanding the hidden problems behind disruptive behaviors. Through personal anecdotes and proven strategies, Mendler offers insight into engaging difficult students, fostering relationships, and making meaningful changes in the classroom and beyond.

Brian Mendler

Brian Mendler has extensive experience working with challenging students in various educational settings. He provides staff development training for K-12 educators, focusing on successful strategies for working with difficult students. He is a dynamic speaker and a respected educator.

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